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Not working due to mental health issues...desperate

(19 Posts)
Loveisashadow Mon 01-Jun-15 19:11:46

I am not working at the moment due to my mental health issues. I lost my job when I got ill and haven't been able to find anything since, but am trying very, very hard. I have psychosis, depression and fibromaylgia. I'm a single mum to one dd, 7. Her Dad (my ex) died 6 months ago so I've got no support with childcare etc. The odds are stacked against me.
I get very, very bored, lonely and low when dd is at school. So much so that my isolation and emptiness has led to,in part, a recent suicide attempt. I don't know what to do with myself. I tried the gym, but it made my chronic pain condition worse. I go to Drama group once a week and slimming world, but that still leaves a lot of time during the day that I'm on my own and just fruitlessly job searching.

Please please is there any one on this board who doesn't work but has a reasonable level of activity, a bit of a life? I've signed up to volunteer at a charity shop but not heard back yet. Just genuinely thinking here about how to fill the days and dead time- besides housework.

Thank you if anyone can offer any thoughts.

lakia Mon 01-Jun-15 20:46:19

First of all well done for attending drama group and slimming world at least you are getting out and to be honest that's probably more than a lot of people manage even if they don't work and are well.
You have a lot to deal with and I am not sure if you are perhaps grieving for your ex he was after all the father of your child.
Can I ask do you have any family close by at all is there anyone you can go and visit have a drink with anyone at all.
Also what help are you getting with your metal health issues are you on medication, seeing a therapist etc.
I too suffer from depression and have to force myself out to work but I know that if I didn't go then I would end up making no effort to do something with my life which is why I would like you to know that I think you are making some quite positive choices.

idlevice Tue 02-Jun-15 00:55:29

Have you heard of online volunteering which might be of interest? (also known as microvolunteering). If you have internet access you can help out with various online projects, such as museum cataloguing, transcribing records, online research for example. See for some ideas.

mamadoc Tue 02-Jun-15 01:06:20

Do you get any support from mental health services?
Eg do you have a CPN as they would know of local volunteering opportunities or support/ recovery groups.
Do MIND run anything in your area?
Would you be interested in a gym if trying to lose weight? Sometimes GPs can do an exercise prescription to give you free or discounted sessions

mamadoc Tue 02-Jun-15 01:06:56

Do you get any support from mental health services?
Eg do you have a CPN as they would know of local volunteering opportunities or support/ recovery groups.
Do MIND run anything in your area?
Would you be interested in a gym if trying to lose weight? Sometimes GPs can do an exercise prescription to give you free or discounted sessions

mamadoc Tue 02-Jun-15 01:07:54

Oh sorry I see you tried the gym suggestion already

glub Tue 02-Jun-15 11:15:42

just a couple of small ideas: if you walk/take public transport instead of driving to places (dependent on where you live obviously) it will take far longer to do anything and you get a good opportunity to read as well as increase your basic fitness.

learn a language with duolingo. also maybe a local college will offer free or discounted courses.

curlybouncyhair Tue 02-Jun-15 11:34:32

I've been out of work long term due to serious MH issues and other health problems, and I'm a single mum too. I used to feel very isolated while my DS was at school and sometimes would just sleep through the day, but I get support through my CMHT now and I've found lots of other activities to occupy myself with. I am not jobseeking and am reasonably content with the level of activitiy in my life.

One of the major things that helped was getting DLA/PIP which has meant that a lot more activities were within my reach financially. So if you haven't applied for that then I'd encourage you to do so. I do a physical/sports activity twice a week which has been amazing for my health and social life, but would be out of my reach financially if it hadn't been for DLA. My CMHT helped me apply, and they also got me a free bus pass which has brought a lot more activities within reach.

If the gym makes your pain worse, would swimming be an option? This is still available on the exercise on prescription scheme in our area, and you might be able to get discounts on entry due to being on benefits. I get in free to our local pool as a carer because my DS has a disability, it depends on your council.

We have lots of colleges around here and I've done lots of courses, many of them are about half price due to being on benefits - things like art, dance, computer skills. I really enjoy learning different things and it's a good structured way of getting to know people without it being purely social. I've also done OU courses, as they offer quite a lot of financial support for those on benefits (used to be free, have to pay now but I cover it out of DLA and being registered as a student means you can apply for their support fund).

There's a website called do-it which lists local volunteering opportunities if the charity shop doesn't work out. I would never have liked charity shop work myself as that sort of people facing role isn't for me, but there are lots of other volunteering opportunities for all sorts of skills/personalities.

idlevice Tue 02-Jun-15 14:10:10

There is also The Green Gym where you can do a bit of conservation/gardening type work. They try to offer various levels of physical activity to suit everyone. They might have something local in your area worth trying.

JulyKit Tue 02-Jun-15 14:20:39

How about signing up for Meetup activities in your area and also Coursera on line courses?

Meetup activities are great in that they are activity-orientated and very unpressurised. I did some of their life drawing sessions a few years ago and really liked that
a) The focus was the drawing, so there was no pressure to 'interact'. There was an instructor there, so it was possible to get guidance, but it wasn't so intense as attending a class or course. It was possible to just get on with the activity, ask for some guidance, interact as and when felt right.
b) You can go as and when suits you, so it's not as if you've signed up for a regular thing that you have to attend.
c) It's quite cheap.
d) Easy going, varied group of people. Potential to socialise, bu no pressure.
e) There are MASSES of activities, groups, etc. Very useful and interesting.

And Coursera: run shortish, free and high quality on line courses, run by universities, on just about everything, so a really good way to get an introduction, or more focused, on more or less anything that interests you. (And they're free!) Also unpressurised, and you can do the work in your own time, but interestingly motivating and potentially challenging (in a really good way).

I really recommend both of the above.

Loveisashadow Tue 02-Jun-15 17:23:13

Thanks for all of the recommendations, I really appreciate all of the suggestions etc, will look up and see what I can do, fit in and afford!

dontrunwithscissors Tue 02-Jun-15 19:38:55

Have you tried yoga? I have painful hips and exercise makes it worse. I tried Ashtanga yoga--I was in agony after the first class, but persevered and have noticed a real improvement in my pain levels.

Loveisashadow Tue 02-Jun-15 20:28:56

I haven't tried yoga as I'm so scared of my pain levels going up. Last time my pain got worse, I self harmed because I was in so much distress over it. I also find the budget is really tight as I'm in lots of debt and so something like yoga might not be in my budget. My CpN is reffering me to debt advice though so that might help me budget and plan better. At the moment I feel very stretched finance wise and have lots of worries about that too.

dontrunwithscissors Wed 03-Jun-15 09:12:48

My CMHT has its own physiotherapist, which I didn't know about. She referred me to them--it was about using exercise within your limits to help you both physically and mentally. They had one-to-one support sessions. They alos arranged a very cheap subscription to the council gym--about £20 for six weeks, but were there to try to find exercise that helped. I don't know, of course, whether you might be able to access something like that?

dontrunwithscissors Wed 03-Jun-15 09:13:24

I meant that my CPN referred me to the MH physio.

Clarella Wed 03-Jun-15 10:14:38

Hello lovely I'm so sorry you are in so much pain both mental and physical. I've experienced / am experiencing both.

Regarding volunteering would you consider helping out at school? Just readers etc or washing paint pots. I find and have always found children uplifting. It may even less you to a teaching assistant course perhaps?

Regarding your pain etc, have you asked the gp for a full health screen (eg iron, vit d even thyroid) to see if there is anything that could be improved to see if it makes a difference to your physical issues? I can't believe how much pain I have had with slight issues with iron and not quite enough thyroxine for my thyroid prob. I've also read/ heard of the issues low vit d and b12 can cause. I'm sure you have been checked but it might be worth trying again?

I have also found swimming (or just floating) very helpful too for both pain and mind.

Clarella Wed 03-Jun-15 10:16:10

I also find gentle yoga or even pilates can help with pain - you might hurt a little in the couple of days after but this is the muscle healing. Gradually it can heal and be stronger. I do know how hard it is though, I really do.

Loveisashadow Wed 03-Jun-15 18:59:50

Hello all

Thank you for the suggestions. I have spent most of today on a seemingly fruitless/futile job search. I woud dearly love to work as I have a first class degree (graduated last year) and really feel as though I'm not contributing anything/doing anything with my life if I'm not working. Plus I'm so very, very, very bored.

I saw a friend for coffee this am and then just went back home and twiddled my thumbs until school pick up time. I feel as though I'm just exisiting for that at the moment and I'm so down about what I must be doing wrong to not be getting any job interviews or feedback. Despite my issues, I'm absolutely desperate to work, even part time, as I feel it would give me a much needed lift and something to do. My days just feel so empty and so so long....I'm really down about it today.

I've had a full health check Clarella, apart from the fibromaylgia I am OK in general.

JulyKit Fri 05-Jun-15 17:10:27

I realise this might sound a bit off the wall, but have you thought about volunteering to walk dogs at a local rescue centre?
I ask because it's great exercise - and outdoors rather than in, which, IMHO makes a massive difference for mood and general feelings of wellbeing, plus it's useful, a great way of being out and about, and... there's just something about dogs that makes life seem much, much better, or bearable, or brilliant, even....

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